Misa Kuranaga hails from Osaka, Japan but is based in Boston. She is 5’1 and very petite and often overlooked due to this, she is a principal dancer for the Boston Ballet. She is an international success for the world of ballet due to her defiance of the “standard ballet beauty.”
Watch her story here:
Ballet is something a lot of children aspire to do because the exterior is grace, passion, and beauty. Which in every aspect, a ballerina is. However, in order to get to the stage, or even noticed, there’s quite a lot of hardship that goes into it. Ballet dancers have a high pain threshold. Not everyone can afford the expensive foam toed shoes that ballerinas have (even then, it still hurts) and so, often use toilet paper or animal wool to reduce the pressure exerted on their feet. If not, they have cuts, bruised toenails and even blisters that need to be attended to with surgical spirits.
Ballerinas practice for weeks, even months for a play due to the need to place every muscle precisely in order to get the desired effect. A ballerina’s timetable is as intense as we thought, and on occasion, dancers endure up to 10 hours of fatiguing physical exercise a day. They could be rehearsing for two different classics and a couple of triple bills all in one week.
Ballet causes for a specific type of petite size which has led to some insanely poor diets that have left a lot of ballerinas battling anorexia and often so, weak if not tended to properly (Frequent nausea and diarrhea are common side effects following their diet).
Clearly, a hectic schedule so there’s very little room for demotivation and when that demotivation is your very DNA structure; it can be downright miserable. But Misa is a living, breathing, graceful beacon of proof and hope for dancers that have to deal with factors created by genetics. She is proof that they do not limit your capabilities.
Nothing is ever really an obstacle if you put your all into it. It is hard to be the odd one out and facing rejection from those you seek to stand amongst is even harder but no one worth remembering in history ever had it easy. If it was easy, it wouldn’t be inspirational. It wouldn’t be a story worth telling. Effort, hard work, blood, sweat, and tears are all factors that play a role in greatness because you wouldn’t truly know success without acknowledging the defeats.
When Misa was asked by the Huffington post what she would tell “younger dancers who feel like they have an inherent barrier to becoming professionals,” she said:
Everyone is born with something that they struggle with. You need to fight for your owngoals and not somebody else’s standards.